Sunday, February 1, 2009

Need a cordless phone jack - any help?

Here's the situation:

We have one cat 5 line running to the living room. I used to run 100baseT Ethernet over it plus a phone line. I really want to stop doing that - instead to run all 4 pairs as Ethernet so I can do gigabit. The problem is that I need a phone jack in that location as well for the DirecTV receivers.

My first attempt at a solution was the RCA RC940 wireless phone jack. It runs a signal through the building's power lines. It is almost completely worthless. I could get a dial-tone without difficulty, but the line is so noisy that the self-test inside the receiver fails every time. I tried about 19 different configurations and the only way it wasn't so noisy you wouldn't even want to make a regular phone call with it is if the base and extension units are plugged into the same socket, which is obviously not very helpful.

We have a 5 GHz cordless phone system, but of course it doesn't have a remote jack, so that's no help. Google gives me nothing but the powerline variants when I search for 'cordless phone jack,' which is not helpful.

Attempting to search for phone / POTS over ethernet gives me either VoIP stuff, which is way, way over engineered for what I want, or gives me Ethernet over Phone line wiring, which is, of course, the exact opposite of what I need.

Are there any wireless phone jacks that do not use the power lines for transporting the signal?

Why, yes! There is the RTX DualJack... except that you can't buy one anywhere. Best of all is WalMart. "Not sold online" and "not sold in stores." Why fucking bother listing then, retards?

It seems like it would be something that would be both easy to do and useful. Surely there are lots of situations in this world where ethernet is already run and you have an analog phone device you need to use. Doesn't anyone make a dumbed-down raw Ethernet POTS line bridge system? There's no need in this circumstance to even use IP networking.

The other irony here is that virtually every google result where I see this question asked, the first response is, "I don't understand what it is you want to do."

So I'll say it again: I have a fully functional gigabit Ethernet network. I have a POTS phone line in one place. I have a need to plug in a POTS device (a DirecTV receiver) in another place. I attempted to use powerline phone extenders and it was an unmitigated disaster. Is there no way that a pair of boxes could use Ethernet to transport the POTS line?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Go up into the attic and drop a cable to an old-work box with a phone jack.

You have probably spent way more time, money and effort trying to figure out how to do this over Ethernet than you would have spent if you just ran another cable.

Nick said...

The big issue is that there already IS a box where we want this additional outlet to go. And once upon a time, it would have been relatively simple to add another cat5 cable to that box. But the wall that box lives in has been filled with blown cellulose insulation, so that's no longer a possibility.

Worst case scenario would be to put a jack in on the wall that's 90 degrees away from this one. That wall is against the garage and is uninsulated, but that's still a lot more work that plugging in a wireless phone jack of some sort.

Michael said...

Did you ever find a solution? I've been nagged by this problem for years. Every house I've lived in has been old and inadequately wired. With everything else now wireless, why do I have to rip up the walls to put a fax machine or TiVo where there isn't a jack?

Nick said...

I wound up finding a used DualJack on eBay.